Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) are really the heart of what is being tested on the Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) exam. Through the lens of a variety of scenarios, test question writers are assessing your ability to recognize evidence-based practice opportunities. Frankly, it’s very straightforward. However, they increase the difficulty by giving you several good responses and ask you for the best option.
When studying the clinical practice guidelines, you need to always be ranking your findings from good to best. The OCS exam isn’t testing you to determine if you’re capable of identifying an appropriate intervention or ruling out an inappropriate one. That’s what the NPTE was for. The OCS is looking to qualify you as an expert in orthopedic clinical practice. This means they want see how often you can you chose the best path when presented with a bunch of very good options.
It’s this ability that separates the good clinicians from the great ones. The good news is the clinical practice guidelines have already done all the heavy lifting for you. They’ve consolidated all the relevant literature on a given topic, synthesized it for you, categorized it, contextualized it, and codified it. Your job is to simply understand the context in which the given evidence is relevant and be able to identify which evidence-based approach is most strongly supported within a given context.
In the OCS Advantage we have included 1-page snapshot summaries of the clinical practice guidelines published in JOSPT through the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy. In general, all clinical practice guidelines are good to know, but not all of them are high priority when preparing for the OCS exam. Remember your percentages and allocate your study time accordingly. Also, some clinical practice guidelines are just a collection of a bunch of low-level studies with inconsistent findings.
As always, be wise with your studies. Don’t waste time studying things that don’t matter. We’ve tried to make our course as lean as possible, including only high return on investment (ROI) study materials. We want to see you be successful in passing the OCS exam. We can honestly say that’s our number one priority. Our entire business is to ensure you pass the OCS exam. Study smarter – not harder. If discipline yourself to prepare like a test-taker, then we’re very confident you’ll be able to maximize your studying efforts, most efficiently use your time, and most importantly pass the OCS exam.